Bar-B-Chef Find,...is it worth it? (Plenty of Pics)

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by xlaxx, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. xlaxx

    xlaxx Newbie

    Hello to all the smokers out there!  

    I am a complete and utter rookie to all this smoking business and a newbie to the forum as well,...but wanted to try smoking meat as my older brother smoked some brisket many years ago that I fondly remember,... it was quite tender and savory.

    Anyway, I have an acquaintance to my family that has the above listed smoker.  He stated he paid $740 for it about 7 years ago.  I have nothing really to go on seeing as how the unit is discontinued and all.  One website had a listing for it NEW of $349 but I am not sure how old the listing is/was.  This is a private sale and not a Craiglist, etc. find.

    The Seller is asking $225 but I might be able to flash $200 cash in front of him and get it for that.  I sure could use some advice out there to see if this is the right direction for a beginner. As far as I can tell it is unmodified. 

    Found this thread and decided to join your forum while researching,...

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/86049/bar-b-chef-restore

    I was very impressed with Chefrob's thread from 2009 about the Bar B Chef as it seems the smoker is a good one, durable and should last a while.  I mean for someone to completely restore a smoker, it must be decent, right?  I guess, I just don't want to have my wallet raped right when I am starting out. 

    Anyway,...here are some pics I took of it this morning.  Feel free to comment.

    Front view

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    Bottom (no rust)

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    Side offset

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    Surface rust on top

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    Old coals inside,...used "3 times"...

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    Thermometer

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    Stock Cover

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    Wheel set

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    Opened up,...functional

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    So,... what would you pay for this tank?  Thanks for the suggestions and recommendations.

    XLAXX
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  2. yrrndsmoker

    yrrndsmoker Smoke Blower

    Links are not working for me.
     
  3. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    az
    hey X, we can't see the pics in those links.....did ya move them around or delete other's? it's hard to to give you any thoughts one way or another with out seeing the smoker's condition. are all the cast iron grates there....ya should have 6 or 7 of them and they should be heavy as hell. if everything is there and it's in good condition $200 is a fair price for both parties......i pd $125 but dumped another $75 or so in paint and SS hardware. my thermo was around $60 or so.
     
  4. duanes

    duanes Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    The links to the pictures did not work for me...
     
  5. xlaxx

    xlaxx Newbie

    Ok,... I think I worked out the pic thing.  Sorry about the previous Photobucket experience,...the pic icon here works great!  

    The grates were solid although I did not get a close-up pic of them.  This unit has been covered for about 5 years or so.  It had stinkbugs all over it.  Needs some TLC and some paint but it looks funtional to me,...heck,...what the hell do I know?,... I just want to smoke something without being taken to the cleaners.  

    A call to all the forum members that own this particular smoker (Chefrob),... COMMENTS are truly welcome and appreciated.

    XLAXX
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  6. i too am a newbie.  I recently renovated a 1989-1993, 1/4" steel Oklahoma Joe smoker that was in about the same condition.  I took the thing to a local sand blaster who made the rust disappear and turned into like new metal which I then primed and painted with 2000 degree rustoleum automotive paint.  I'm awaiting delivery of replacement handles, firebox grate, some tools and a charcoal basket from Horizon, the company that took over for OJ.  I'm sorry but I didnt' take a pic of the smoker pre-renovation but will take and post pics soon for the finished product.

    If others more knowledgable say this is a good deal move forward in confidence that you can make it like new if you're so motivated.  In the renovation and new parts I should have a finsihed product with about $250 or so invested...but then I was given the smoker.
     
  7. xlaxx

    xlaxx Newbie

    I do have the opportunity to go back and check out this smoker again, so if there is something I need to look at and inspect, please advise.

    Thanks for the assistance.

    XLAXX
     
  8. xlaxx

    xlaxx Newbie

    Floridarandy-  

    I am fairly handy and can restore it but I would like to get some use out of it first.  

    To me, the wear on it looks minimal, but I am not certain about what it might have looked like originally?  To my knowledge, these units have been discontinued so replacement parts will be as scarce as hens teeth.

    Thank you for the reply.

    XLAXX 
     
  9. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    az
    that was not only used 3 times, sounds like what they told me when i bought mine.....i had to scrape 1/4 - 1/2 inch of crap off mine. hell, i set it on fire there was so much crap in it! that one is the older model since the fire box is flat on the bottom.....if you look at mine it is round

    .[​IMG]

    it's hard to see what grates are in there but it looks like they are there...i think there are 5. 2 large and 3 smaller ones....

    [​IMG]

    also there is a heat sheild in the fire box...look under the ashes. it should be a some what thin but sturdy piece of metal to protect he bottom of the fire box from rust and heat.....not sure if the older models cam with it. other wise look for cracking hinges, warped lids and such......considering the work and all the rusted bolts you will need to replace with stainless steel $200 is a fair price for both parties involved. you can always show him mine to remind him what his USED to look like. more than likely it is ready to go but becareful, grease fires are hard to put out (i just let mine burn out...it took about 20 min of thick black smoke) don't use this next to any trees or wooden fences just in case.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  10. I have the exact same smoker you're lookin at xlaxx, right down to the flat bottomed firebox.  I paid somewhere between $400-$500 about 5 years ago.  Even though that's in Australian dollars it should give some idea of what they were new at the time as our dollar values are in the same ballpark.  If you can get it for $200 I think you'd be getting a fair deal.

    It obviously needs some tidying up (mine looks the same with the surface rust, faded paint etc), but with some minor modifications you'll have yourself a great smoker.  As far as modifications go, I'm sure most on here would agree that with any type of horizontal offset smoker you can get much better results with far less frustration to go along with it by making a few recommended mods, which can be found throughout this website.

    If you'd like me to post a few pics of my smoker and the condition it's in after 5 years for comparison it's no problem.

    Pete
     
  11. xlaxx

    xlaxx Newbie

    All of you are so kind to reply so quickly and THANK YOU for the help and suggestions.

    So glad I hit this forum first!  See, I had no idea that this unit is an 'older version' with the horizontal fire box.  All great points.  

    I am going to go back over there and have another look at it then make an objective decision.  The wife isn't too pleased about all this so I need to be fairly prudent.

    XLAXX
     
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    xlaxx, morning....  I would buy that unit..... It has radius corners... looks well built.... looks made in the USA as compared to other stuff on the market... 

    Can't tell for sure but the exhaust stack looks pretty close to the grill.... others I have seen, the grates restrict the exhaust flow and the stack needed to be shortened or cut at an angle to improve exhaust flow.... maybe 1" or less...... It may work perfectly.... just saying....  

    Buy it... clean it up.... burn it out.... smoke meat... take pics.... show them here...   I'm in....  Dave    [​IMG]
     
  13. xlaxx

    xlaxx Newbie

    Well, we just had one heck of a beautiful day here in Northern VA.  I worked about 4 hours of side-work and I must say, I started thinking about my potential smoker purchase this morning and didn't want it to slip away.  I figured it might be a good idea to go back over to the Seller's house and look it over once again, just to 'make sure'.  I had some reservations seeing as how the smoker is: 1) a discontinued one, 2) an older model with horizontal box, 3) I didn't get a real good look inside it to see the condition of the grates and side firebox shield, 4) I wanted to see how this tank comes apart to get it home, 5) I wanted to do a thorough inspection as per Chefrob's recommendation,...I am kinda 'Type A' with my stuff and I like things to work properly and be in decent condition prior to purchase, so bear with me.[​IMG]   6)The wife ain't very pleased about big purchases, so I had to make sure this thing would perform without much 'to-do' and maintenance to it so as her to find fault with.

    After making a quick call, I arrived at the Seller's house and I proceeded over to the smoker in good light.  I got a really good look inside it and all I can say is WOW!  Despite all the stinkbugs cohabiting inside and a few cobwebs, it was completely ash-free in the smoking section (big cylinder barrel).  I swear it was spotless, and the original black paint inside looked fantastic, smooth, with no rust.  All the weld seals looked NEW, with original paint and none of it had cracked or flaked.  The grates looked superb inside the bigger barrel and were seasoned, oily and greasy.  The Seller mentioned that he seasoned the smoker 8 hours.  I asked for the Owners Manual or paperwork but he did not have this available.  He mentioned again that he purchased it when Bar-BQ Galore was going out of business and stated he paid $740.  I asked him again about how many times he had used the smoker and the Seller stated that he smoked 1 turkey and 3 slabs of ribs in it that took him 14 hours to do so over Thanksgiving several years ago.

    I took the grates all out and they were not cracked  but the side firebox grates did have some surface rust on the bottom grate with paint flake,...nothing bad at all,... the original black paint still covered about 97% of the lower side firebox grate still.  All other grates were basically new, just black, greasy residue-covered from seasoning and from the previous smoke. The grates were very clean with no greasy meat clumps stuck on them.  At this point, I started getting a little excited because to me, it seemed like the smoker just had cosmetic issues on the outside of it (surface rust and it is minimal).  I ended up dealing on the smoker and we ended up settling on $200.  I cleaned and dusted it all out with a clean paint brush and air compressor.  I proceeded to take the side box off of it to get into the minivan.  The screws came off nice and easy, not frozen,... I used my fingers to get them off!  I took the chimney and stainless steel shelf off as well with ease.  I did notice that the baffle on the top was not connected to the chimney and was missing.  The Seller said that when he originally purchased the smoker, the baffle was missing and the manager took $25 off the purchase of the smoker at the time.  The Seller said that he used a vegetable can top with a hole in it to control the exhaust???  The smoker fit into the minivan standing up so that was nice.  I lubed the wheels and they spin freely.  The heat shield inside the side firebox was rusted on the surface were the ash falls on it but the other side looked almost mint (see pic below).  The Seller threw in a 1/2 bag of 1 cu. foot of cherry wood, 1/2 bag of Cowboy lump, stainless steel fork, tongs, mesh wire scraper, and a stainless steel 4-pronged fork.  We were able to get the smoker into the vehicle with ease as well.

    I unloaded it an hour or so ago and took a few pics for comment.  I think, I did OK on this seeing as how I am a beginner and that this smoker is a reputable one.  I am thinking that I would be pretty hard-pressed to restore and paint this puppy right now because the insides look so clean and unused from minimal use.  The hardware is basically new, too.  The outside is the only thing you could say is 'hurting' right now.  It could use some outer paint protection but the stock cover seems to be holding up well.  No tears, holes, un-stitched areas or falling out seams, or mold.

    Here are a few pics that I took after getting it home.   So I need to ask,... what should I do next?  I do not have a manual for it.  Feel free to provide crucial links from the forum on what to do next!

    Thank you all!

    XLAXX  

    Covered the goodies for tonight.

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    Grates,...note the rusty one is from the firebox bottom grate

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    Heat Shield from firebox

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    Back side of Heat Shield from firebox

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    Cherry Wood,...are these any good?

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    Cowboy Lump Charcoal

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  14. xlaxx

    xlaxx Newbie

    What would be some easy and practical mods for this smoker to keep the temps even?

    XLAXX
     
  15. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    az
    ya know, i would make a charcaol basket out of expanded metal from ace,HD or lowes. that will gve you good air flow for the fire abd actually hold more lump. as for the smoke chamber i made some baffles to go under the grates to even out the temps but other than that you don't need to "seal" it up or anything. i would put any extra grates (the smaller ones) in the bottom of the smoke chamber to retain heat. do a test burn and go from there.......i would not trust the readings on he thermo that came with it for a couple of reasons. first it is not at grate level and second who knows if it is calibrated. get you some cheap oven thermos like these.....they cost about $5-$10 bucks. that way you will know where yer smoker temp is and when it dros when the fire is going down. i will say do not get anal about always keeping a certain temp. 250-300 is fine to start with untill ya get used to tending a fire. i will say do not ever control yer heat by covering up your exaust with a can....instead control your heat with the vent on the firebox.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. xlaxx

    xlaxx Newbie

    Good advice.  Please post your mods here on my thread with the dimensions of your charcoal box.  I want to make one right away and then do a test burn.  There is a sheet metal shop close to my home so I could probably secure some scrap 1/8" for the inner baffle and tuning boards for the bottom.  I could also get the baffle for the chimney as well but don't know the metal thickness of it.  

    Also, are you placing any kind of drip pan inside to keep it clean or what?  I didn't notice any drain holes in this so let me know your thoughts.

    Thank you Chefrob!

    XLAXX 
     
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    XLAXX, evening....  Congrats on the new "oven to help the bride out in the kitchen"...  As far as mods go, Chef Rob's charcoal basket is probably the first chore...... Build it like he mentioned....  The air gap between the bottom of the basket and the bottom of the fire box is important for LLOOONNNGGG smokes... someplace for the ashes.... build one very similar to his...   Have you read the 5 day e-course when you joined here ???  The minion method for using lump or briquettes is a must to master..... It will take a little time...  In the search engine, "minion method" will produce a ton of info.... problems folks have had and solutions to those  same problems......   burn some fuel, practice adjusting the temps, (Rob mentioned the oven therms, 2 required) figure the heat difference from one end to the other of the smoke chamber... that will come in handy for knowing where to put the food..... pop an adult beverage, watch the TBS, take notes, take pics, share the pics, eat great food....  Very simple, very,very simple.....  For now, that should solve ALL your problems..... lol....  There are so many folks here with tons of knowledge about side fire box smokers that will help.....  Kick back and relax.... Dave
     
  18. xlaxx

    xlaxx Newbie

    Dave-

    Thank you for the reply and recommendations.

    I am making some progress today and decided that I should clean it up a bit first!  

    I am going to sand the smoker and hit the surface rust pretty good with a Dewalt power, palm sander using 120 grit paper.  Then I am going to paint it with the Rustoleum Hi Temp 500.  All the screws and bolts look really good and have come off with ease so I am going to re-use those unless others think I shouldn't.  The inside looks fine (very clean) to me and I am hesitant to paint it at this point in time.  I also secured the expanded sheet metal from Lowes with (4) 3" SS screws, washers, and bolts for the feet of the basket.  The expanded metal is 12g, 1/2, 12" X 24" sheet,... I purchased 2 sheets thinking I will bend and cut one for the floor of the charcoal basket and the other sheet for the sides of the basket.

    A few questions about my upcoming restore:

    1) Should I go against my better judgment and paint the inside?

    2) Should I prime the outside before painting?

    3) Should I paint and sand the heat shield that lies on the floor of the firebox?

    4) My chimney was missing the baffle at the top of it,... how much is 'too much' for a sheet metal shop to make one of these for me?  I would like to replace it with something substantial with metal of proper gauge.

    5) What would you recommend I use to clean the plastic handles with and make them shine?  Armour-All is the worst stuff from what I hear so I am sure there is something else to use.

    I have registered for the e-course and received and have read the first edition/email on meat selection already.  I look forward to the other emails.  Can't wait to get this project started and smoke some meat.  In regards to popping open an adult beverage,... I can't think of any other brew than "The Reverend" from Avery out of Bolder, CO once I get the meat on the smoker!  Man, will that be sweet.[​IMG]

    XLAXX

    PS.  Thank you friend, for the welcome onto this fine Forum. 
     
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I noticed 2nd air hole in the  upper part of the door....  That is an important feature.... provides air flow without adding air to the fire.... allows air to withdraw moisture and move smoke without creating heat....  When I was building stoves for tents, I incorporated that feature in my stoves... also provides secondary burn of tars and creosotes etc for clean smoke....
     
     

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